A flexible two-dimensional mortality model for use in indirect estimation

John Wilmoth, Sarah Zureick, Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Mie Inoue, Cheryl Sawyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Mortality estimates for many populations are derived using model life tables, which describe typical age patterns of human mortality. We propose a new system of model life tables as a means of improving the quality and transparency of such estimates. A flexible two-dimensional model was fitted to a collection of life tables from the Human Mortality Database. The model can be used to estimate full life tables given one or two pieces of information: child mortality only, or child and adult mortality. Using life tables from a variety of sources, we have compared the performance of new and old methods. The new model outperforms the Coale-Demeny and UN model life tables. Estimation errors are similar to those produced by the modified Brass logit procedure. The proposed model is better suited to the practical needs of mortality estimation, since both input parameters are continuous yet the second one is optional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalPopulation Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • age patterns of mortality
  • death rates
  • indirect methods
  • model life tables
  • mortality estimation
  • mortality models
  • relational logit model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • History


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